A CIA airstrike has killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan, a number of sources close to the matter have told the Associated Press.White House officials declined to confirm al-Zawahri was killed, but noted in a statement that a US counterterrorism operation “against a significant Al Qaeda target in Afghanistan” has been carried out.

“The operation was successful and there were no civilian casualties,” the statement read.US President Joe Biden, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid again, is expected to discuss further details of the operation in an address at 7:30pm.

Speaking on August 31 last year, after the last US troops left Afghanistan, President Biden said the US would not let up on its fight against terrorism in that country or elsewhere.

“We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” he said.

“We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it.”

Previewing the strike that would occur 11 months later, Biden said at the time: “We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few, if needed.”

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